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Hachette UK launches Accessibility Policy

11 December 2023, London UK – In collaboration with its employee Accessibility Network, Hachette UK has launched an Accessibility Policy, which sets out a framework to support and empower its colleagues .

Created in line with Hachette UK’s ‘Changing the Story’ diversity and inclusion initiative, the policy outlines best practice for recruiting disabled candidates sharing information about a disability, and internal and external support available to staff.  A managers’ guidance document and a disability etiquette and external resources information sheet have also been created alongside the policy.  

To mark the launch of the policy, Hachette UK are hosting a staff event titled ‘Accessibility in the Workplace: A Publishing Panel Event’ in January. Lucy Webster, author of The View From Down Here: Life as a Disabled Woman will chair a panel consisting of comedian and writer Rosie Jones who has written the forthcoming Moving On Up: Beat the bullies, make fearless friendships and deal with funny fails, Polly Atkin, who wrote Some of Us Just Fall: On Nature and Not Getting Better and the author of Now That I have Your Attention: 7 Lessons in Leading a Life Bigger Than They Expect, Nicolas Hamilton. The session will explore the panellists’ lived experiences of being disabled, discussing topics such as common misconceptions surrounding disabilities at work, the importance of correct language and a look at how disabilities are portrayed in the media.

Kim Kidd, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Hachette UK, said: ‘We’re incredibly proud to announce the launch of our Accessibility Policy, marking a crucial step in our commitment to Changing the Story. Disability inclusion is an important part of our Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiative, and we will continue to work with our Accessibility Network to improve awareness and understanding of disabilities so that all of our employees are able to thrive at work.

Jasmine Palmer and Siobhan Hughes, co-chairs of Hachette UK’s Accessibility Network, said: “The Accessibility Policy will be an invaluable resource for staff and managers across all departments at Hachette UK. It is important that we continue to provide support, raise awareness, and make our workplace accessible to everyone in all parts of our business. The event in the new year will provide an opportunity to hear from Hachette authors with real, lived experience in this area, and we will continue to champion and support the books and experiences of disabled colleagues and authors.”

The launch of the policy comes after a series of initiatives at Hachette UK which aim to improve the accessibility and representation of its people and publishing. In July 2023, Hachette UK  achieved Level One of the Disability Confident Scheme, which aims to improve understanding and challenge attitudes towards disability, attract and retain talented individuals from diverse backgrounds, build a team of skilled, loyal and hardworking staff and demonstrate fair treatment for all. Hachette UK also launched a Neurodiversity Policy this year. In 2022 Hachette UK signed the Publishing Accessibility Action Group charter, which involved committing to accessibility targets, including partnering with national and international organisations that provide support for the availability of publications in accessible formats, as well as raising awareness among and providing training for relevant staff on accessibility in publishing. Hachette UK is also a member of the Valuable 500, a global business partnership of 500 companies working together to end disability exclusion.

Hachette UK was the first publisher to win a British Dyslexia Association (BDA) Smart Award in 2020, recognising its efforts to promote good practice and support the needs of dyslexic and neurodivergent individuals. This included creating a set of guidelines for producing dyslexia-friendly texts and workplaces, which were written by Hachette UK’s Accessibility Network and Jessica Kingsley Publishers, in consultation with the BDA. In support of its accessibility commitment, Hachette UK also formed an Accessible Content Subgroup in 2021, which produces and delivers learning and development resources, as well as training and educational documentation, to Hachette UK staff to further the awareness and understanding of accessibility within the workplace.